The 10 plagues in Egypt
Published 11:11 am Wednesday, January 6, 2016
We read in Exodus 7-12 of 10 plagues that God brought upon Pharaoh and the people of Egypt during the time of Moses. God plagued Egypt in these ways because of Pharaoh’s unwillingness to allow the Israelites to leave Egypt.
One thing that stands out to me as I read about the plagues is the fact that the magicians of Egypt were able to repeat the first two plagues. Aaron struck the Nile with his staff just as the Lord had instructed him, and all the water turned to blood.
Afterward, God allowed the magicians to perform the same act by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened as a result.
The second plague resulted in a swarm of frogs. Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and frogs came up and covered the land. Frogs were everywhere!
As if that wasn’t enough, the magicians performed the same act by their secret arts.
It is interesting that the magicians were able to do the plague, but they were unable to reverse it.
Then came the third plague and the magicians were rendered powerless from there on. At that point, because they were unable to repeat the plague, the magicians recognized that the plague had come by the finger of God.
Pharaoh’s heart remained hard though, and he failed to listen to the magicians’ counsel.
I have a lot more questions about all of this than answers. Why did God allow the magicians to perform the same feat He had done? Why did they want to? Shouldn’t they have demonstrated their power by reversing the plagues? Why did God decide after two plagues to no longer allow the magicians the ability to copy His feats?
The narrative leaves these questions unanswered. We do know that God had hardened Pharaoh’s heart at the outset, and was continuing to do so as the plagues progressed.
It was not until the final plague — the killing of all the firstborn in Egypt — that Pharaoh finally decided he had had enough.
In all of this we see 10 disturbing, yet impressive displays of God’s power. Nothing will stand in His way. No one can prevent Him from accomplishing His purposes.
He is not an angry dictator looking for someone to destroy. All Pharaoh had to do to make it stop was allow the Israelites to leave Egypt.
But neither is God afraid to pour out His judgment on those who shake their fists at Him as Pharaoh did in Exodus 7-12.
As we come to the final plague and the Passover celebration in Chapter 12, we are given a foreshadowing of something that would take place many years later.
This time God would not take the life of anyone’s firstborn but His own, His only begotten Son. Jesus would lay down His life in the place of all those who would repent of their sin and believe on His name. He would be our Passover lamb, dying in our place.
As you think about the judgment of God on Pharaoh and the Egyptians, don’t stop there. Be sure to also consider the salvation given to the people of Israel.
Consider even the numerous warnings and signs God gave to Pharaoh and the people of Egypt. Finally, reflect on the salvation that God has made available to us in Christ Jesus. God is a God of holiness, wrath and judgment.
But He is also a God of mercy, forgiveness and salvation. Rejoice in this God today.
Adam Blosser is the pastor of Drakes Branch Baptist Church. He can be reached at email@example.com.